Elnathan Taber of Roxbury, Massachusetts. A labeled case tall clock. RR79

This is a labeled example. The Clockmaker’s paper set up label can be found pasted to the inside of the waist door. This paper label measures approximately 3.5 inches tall and 4 inches wide. It is in very good condition. Very few clock cases were originally labeled. Even fewer remain with their cases. This is a very nice feature.

This inlaid mahogany case stands on four flared French feet. These are molded into the base section and make this transition with out an applied molding. Instead, a complicated line inlay pattern provides the visual separation between the feet and the base. The feet feature a gentle flare and good height. The inside line sweeps up and into a return and then to a wide subtle drop apron. The base panel is broadly crossbanded around the outside edge The wood selected for this cross banded detail exhibits good striping. This banding frames a mahogany veneered panel. The grain exhibited here is features a sweeping pattern in a vertical layout. These two features are separated by a complex line inlay pattern. This same pattern is used again in the design of the long rectangular waist door. This waist door is fitted with an applied molding along it’s outer edge. The mahogany veneer selected for this prominent location features a long vertical grain pattern. The sides of this case are fitted with reeded quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet is a fretwork style surmounted with three ball and spike finials. They are mounted on reeded plinths that are capped at the top. The bonnet columns are also reeded and terminate in brass capitals. The bonnet door is an arched form and is line inlaid. This door opens to access the wonderfully painted iron dial.

This iron dial is of Boston origin and is very colorfully paint decorated. It was most likely painted by Spencer Nolen based on other known signed examples. The four spandrel areas feature vibrant gold and red paint. The gilt work is raised on applied gesso designs. In the arch of this dial is a moonphase or lunar calendar mechanism. The hours, minutes, seconds and calendar day are all displayed in a traditional format. This dial is signed by the Maker, “WARRANTED BY / E. Taber “ in fancy lettering.

This fine movement is constructed in brass and is very good quality.  Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind.   It is a two train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system.  As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour.  This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement. 

This beautiful clock was made circa 1805. It stand approximately 7 feet 10 inches tall (94 inches) to the top of the center finial. The case is constructed in mahogany with holly line inlays and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. The mahogany retains a deep rich finish.

About Elnathan Taber Roxbury, Massachusetts

Elnathan Taber was born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on February 14, 1768 and may have died there in 1854 at the age of 86. It appears that his grave was moved from Dartmouth to Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain on October 29th, 1870. His parents were Thomas and Elizabeth (Swift) Taber. Elnathan is the older brother of Stephen Taber who’s fortune help found Taber Academy in Marion, MA. Both brothers traveled to Roxbury and were trained as clockmakers by the Willards. Elnathan was just 16. After serving his apprenticeship, Elnathan stayed and worked in Roxbury. His shop was located on Union Street. Union Street was renamed Taber Street in April of 1868 in his memory. Elnathan maintained a close working relationship with his mentor Simon became one of Simon Willard’s most famous apprentices. He was authorized by Simon to make is patent timepieces during the patent period. He was also a prolific repairman. His name can be found engraved on numerous Boston area made clocks as a service record. Elnathan married Catherine Partridge in January of 1797. They had four children between the years of 1797 and 1811. Catherine had three sisters who also married clockmakers. Her sister Elizabeth married Abel Hutchins and Mary (Polly) married Aaron Willard. A third sister married Samuel Curtis. Over the years, we have owned and sold numerous tall case clocks made by this fine clockmaker. In addition, we have also owned a good number of wall timepieces in the form of banjo clocks and coffin clocks as well as several of the Massachusetts shelf clock forms.


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